There are many old beliefs that could prevent older adults from taking advantage of the many benefits of remaining physically active. We are going to bust few myths surrounding exercise and the elderly in this article.
MYTH 1: TOO OLD TO EXERCISE
The loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) with age in humans is well documented. A primary factor in sarcopenia is disuse of skeletal muscle, resulting in atrophy. The consequences of sarcopenia can be extensive if you are inactive at this age. Experts assure us that seniors who have led a sedentary lifestyle can benefit from beginning a regular program of fitness activities, even if they start at age 65, 70, 80 or older.
MYTH 2: EXERCISE WILL LEAD TO JOINT PAIN AT THIS AGE
Studies show that exercising helps with arthritis pain. Doing daily flexibility exercises helps maintain essential range of motion. Stretching exercises for arthritis can be safely performed every day, but strengthening exercises should be limited to 3 days a week, include knee-strengthening exercises. Exercise increases our muscle mass, which reduces pain and improves function.
MTYH 3: EXERCISE AT THIS AGE CAN LEAD TO SUDDEN HEART ATTACK
The health benefits associated with exercise include favorable changes in lipid profile, blood pressure, and body composition. Aerobic training reduces resting blood pressure in hypertensive young persons; this effect has been noticed in older hypertensive adults as well.
MYTH 4: DISABLED ELDERS CANNOT EXERCISE
Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga. This will help increase range of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility and promote cardiovascular health.
MYTH 5: WORKING PUZZLES IS THE BEST BRAIN EXERCISE
Mentally stimulating activities such as reading, crafts and puzzles all build connections in the brain that protect our thinking and memory. Yet experts say that exercising our bodies is most likely the top factor in maintaining brain health. “Good for the heart = good for the brain” is a motto to remember.
MYTH 6: GOING FOR A BRISK WALK EVERY DAY PRETTY MUCH COVERS MY EXERCISE NEEDS
Walking is a great way to exercise. But it’s only, we might say, the first step. A complete exercise program for seniors should include aerobic activities, muscle strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or using a resistance band; flexibility exercises such as stretches or yoga; and exercises that improve our sense of balance.
MYTH 7: I’M NOT FIT ENOUGH TO ATTEND AN EXERCISE CLASS!
Exercising at home is fine, but working out with others can be much more motivating. You will find exercise classes for seniors of every fitness level — including those who have never exercised before. There are modified exercise classes for older people.